Support groups join forces on solicitors’ welfare

Solicitors support organisations the Solicitors Benevolent Association (SBA), Solicitors’ Assistance Scheme (SAS) and LawCare have resolved to work more closely in providing support and assistance to solicitors, their staff and families.

In a joint statement today (4 April) the organisations said the move reflected increased regulatory, financial and business pressures caused by increasingly complex professional regulations.

SBA chief executive Adrian Rees said: “When a solicitor stops coping everyone loses out – the solicitor, his family and staff and, most importantly, the public who rely upon him or her for advice.

“It is vital that we take the steps necessary to ensure that there is adequate financial, emotional and legal support for those who are most in need. We hope that by pooling our skills and resources, our three organisations can help solicitors avoid their small problems turning into catastrophes.”

Duncan Finlyson, administrator for the SAS, added that many solicitors become the subject of disciplinary proceedings because they cannot cope with the pressures of modern practise.

“If we can get to those firms and help them to avoid making mistakes, if we can offer emotional and financial support at the outset of a problem rather than after things have gone wrong; then we will be assisting not just the solicitors themselves but their clients and the reputation of the solicitors’ profession as a whole,” he said.

Finlyson added that failure to cope with regulation led some solicitors to negligence, inadequate service and personal problems such as stress and alcoholism.

LawCare chief executive Hilary Tilby added that many solicitors “often believe they should be able to handle their own problems, even when they have no experience or skill for doing so.”

“Many spend so much of their time sorting out other people’s problems that they find it difficult to prioritise or deal with their own,” she said.

“Our joint aim is to help them to recognise that they have a problem and to offer them a solution for dealing with it.”